Hidden paradises in Central Portugal’s countryside, 12 enchanting villages please anyone who visits them. The Historic Villages of Portugal are must-see destinations for nature and History lovers. Places that witnessed the occupation of peoples as diverse as the Romans, Muslims, Visigoths, or the Knights Templar – and still preserve their traces today.

The coming of the New Year promises new emotions and adventures, travels, and discoveries. What better way to ring in 2019 with a smile than by beginning to plan trips to places that hold stories at every corner: The 12 Historic Villages of Portugal.

Nearly 100 kilometers from Salamanca and 300 kilometers from Madrid, it only takes crossing the border to explore these picturesque, enchanting places in full harmony with nature. Almeida, Belmonte, Castelo Mendo, Castelo Novo, Castelo Rodrigo, Idanha-a-Velha, Linhares da Beira, Marialva, Monsanto, Piódão, Sortelha, and Trancoso: The Historic Villages of Portugal, one destination that is in fact 12, offer more than just an experience to escape routine and visit new places. They furnish an enriching learning experience about the origins of Portugal and Spain. After all, these villages played a fundamental role in defending their borders during centuries – as evidenced by the imposing and sprawling castles and walls that remain erect atop these places.

Whether on a holiday, a long weekend, a vacation or to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, a trip to the Historic Villages of Portugal is the ideal escape from the cities’ hustle and bustle and everyday rush. Their landscapes and fascination for their historical legacy spreads to us magically with their peace and tranquility.

For the more adventurous types, there is much to explore in the Historic Villages of Portugal. Historic tours that combine a passion for discovery and the thrill of a trip through time. There are trails through the castles and river banks and the hills and highlands. A wide array of shorter or longer trails ranging from 2 to 20 kilometers that hold secrets about these villages, such as the fantastic legends and stories from the time of the Moors or the endless battles between the Castilians and Portuguese.

The Historic Villages of Portugal, one destination that is in fact 12, are authentic places. Aside from preserving heritage, they prioritize preserving the locals’ customs and traditions. The faces of these villagers always carry a smile. They have stories to tell and an immense patience to explain the ancestral artisan techniques for the objects they display proudly on the porches and doors of their homes.

Whichever period or season of the year, the Historic Villages of Portugal always maintain their charm. In the spring, their streets bloom with ravishing flowers that contrast with the old stone houses. In the summer, their heavenly river beaches satisfy lovers of a good swim. In the autumn, the landscapes become incredible frames painted yellow and red. In the winter, sometimes white blankets of snow transform the Historic Villages of Portugal into places from a dream or illusion.

There are more than enough reasons for making 2019 a year of touring through the Historic Villages of Portugal – and bringing back unforgettable memories from places in which we want to lose ourselves, never to find our way back again.